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Looking back on the year that was Trump


The Herald is a local newspaper. We write about local issues. Traditionally, we have largely steered clear of national politics, rarely criticizing the president. That is, until President Donald J. Trump took office.

On our editorial page over the past year, we have mostly stuck to local, regional and state issues. Increasingly, however, we have thought it necessary to opine on the many outrageous statements and actions by our 45th commander in chief.

Trump has repeatedly attacked Muslims and Hispanics. He has offered a dizzying array of views on white nationalists and neo-Nazis, simultaneously siding with them while appearing to half-heartedly denounce them.

He has called Long Island a “blood-stained killing field,” suggesting that the notorious El Salvadoran gang MS-13 has taken over here. (It hasn’t.) He has also eliminated many of the state and local tax deductions that Long Islanders have long depended on to balance their budgets.

So, throughout 2017, we repeatedly saw a need to weigh in on the president’s behavior — many would say bad behavior. Just last week, he reportedly referred to certain developing nations as “s---hole countries.” How many times must we denounce the president’s words as just plain wrong?

On Jan. 20, we will mark the first anniversary of Trump’s inauguration. As we do, we look back on a year marred by ugly Twitter rants and manufactured controversies. Here are excerpts from our Trump editorials, which, frankly, we wish we never had to write:

“Find peace through understanding this holiday season” (Dec. 7-13):

“Criticizing Islam as ‘dangerous’ is never OK, but for these reasons and more, this holds doubly true during the holiday season. So when President Trump retweeted posts by far-right British politician Jayda Fransen last week, portraying Muslims as violent criminals, it struck a particularly harsh and ignoble tone.”

“The great Republican tax scam” (Nov. 30-Dec. 6):

“President Trump and the GOP lawmakers tell us that reducing corporate taxes would encourage companies to expand operations in the U.S., thereby increasing jobs. That might be true. Why, however, would big companies return jobs to the U.S. when they could continue to employ workers for significantly less in China, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and a host of other countries, no matter how deeply the federal government cut taxes?”

“After Charlottesville, #LIstandsuptohate” (Aug. 24-30):

“As a toxic set of principles that we believed was long ago vanquished explodes back into the nation’s social consciousness, we cannot condone it through silence. We must stand up to evil, and we expect President Trump to lead us in that effort. The trouble is, last week he equivocated. He appeared to take a stand against white nationalism only when forced to do so by advisers, and then, in tweets and remarks to the press, he drew little to no distinction between fascist wannabes and anti-fascist protesters.”

“Trump’s dark vision of Long Island requires context” (Aug. 10-16):

“On July 28, President Trump landed on Long Island . . . In a speech before law enforcement officers at Suffolk Community College in Brentwood, our commander in chief declared Long Island ‘a blood-stained killing field.’

“It was the usual hysterical hyperbole that we have come to expect from Trump. And, no, we shouldn’t take it with a grain of salt. The president’s visit did nothing to solve the gang crisis.”

“Trump’s pullout from Paris accord is sad, so sad” (June 15-21):

“Long Islanders, in particular, should be outraged by Trump’s climate-change policy — or, more precisely, his lack of one. According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Long Island and New York City have experienced at least a foot of sea-level rise since 1900. By 2100, scientists project New York could see a foot and a half to four feet of sea-level rise, if the current global-warming pattern continues.”

“Repeal and replace the ACA? Not so fast, Mr. Trump” (Jan. 19-26):

“In his news conference last Wednesday, President-elect Donald Trump said that he wants to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act quickly and simultaneously.

“Even without a new president, Congress last week passed measures that began chipping away at the health care act. It would allow follow-up legislation to sidestep the threat of a filibuster by Democrats in the Senate and House . . . We say not so fast.”

Let us hope for a kinder, gentler, more productive 2018, Trump’s second year in office.